Before we talk about beaches, it must be said that Punta Cana is not a city.

It would be more accurate to describe the location as a small area, or better, as a long and beautiful stretch of fabulous beaches dotted with hotels and resorts. Punta Cana beaches are worthily considered among the best in the Dominican Republic.

Most modern resorts and hotels are located in Bavaro and Arena Gorda. However, almost all of them use the name Punta Cana in their branding. Because this is the name, everyone hears about.


About 30 years ago, a wild mangrove forest grew on the site of the resort village of Bavaro, which came close to the ocean. Today, along the coastal zone, located in the vicinity of Punta Cana, there is a modern tourist infrastructure and elite resorts, some of the best in the Dominican Republic. And in place of the forest, there is now a stunning Bavaro beach, perhaps the most popular on the coast. There are several reasons for this.

Bavaro is closest to Punta Cana airport.

The beach is very picturesque: azure water, shallow depth, fine white coral sand, palm trees – everything is like on advertising booklets. A coral reef stretches along the coastline, reliably protecting from high waves and creating optimal conditions for swimming. The entrance to the sea is sloping and convenient for children. In 2015, Bavaro was deservedly awarded the Blue Flag – the sand is clean thanks to regular cleaning by local hotel staff.

Entrance to the beach is free, as is the use of its infrastructure: sun loungers, umbrellas, changing rooms, toilets, and showers. True, all this belongs to local hotels, but, as a rule, their staff turns a blind eye to guests. Hotel buildings from the side of the beach are almost invisible: they are hidden behind thickets of palm trees and do not spoil the tropical landscape. There are no boundaries between hotels either.

There are several maritime centers on the Bavaro offering various entertainment. Swimming with dolphins and sharks, catamaran trips, buggy rides. And, of course, you should try snorkeling: the local coral reef will not leave you indifferent. You can eat at one of the many restaurants.

  • Address: Punta Cana, Bavaro Beach.
  • From the airport to «Bavaro» is about 10 minutes by taxi. It is necessary to clarify that it’s the Bavaro beach you need because the village of the same name is located 1,5 miles to the north.

  • Pros: location, picturesque landscapes, developed infrastructure.

  • Cons: not found.

2.Cabeza de Toro beach

Cabeza de Toro is located on the border between two regions: Punta Cana and Bavaro.

This is the last equipped beach in the vicinity of the capital – the wild coast begins to the south. Although it is considered municipal, it is almost entirely «occupied» by sun loungers and bars of hotels adjacent to the sea. This is one of the calmest beaches in Punta Cana. And because of its picturesqueness and relative sparseness, it was chosen by photographers, especially wedding photographers. For cleanliness and safety, the beach received the Blue Flag. Another feature of Cabeza de Toro is the color of the water.

Due to the presence of coral reefs, it seems darker here than on other beaches.

Entertainment and infrastructure:

  • There is a «Marinarium» marine park on the territory of the beach, which offers water activities for every taste: from coastal snorkeling to professional diving in the open sea. The cost of a snorkeling tour is 100 USD, a dive tour to the coral reef worth 150 USD, and full-day catamaran excursions are 130 USD. Another amusement park on Cabeza de Toro is Dolphin Explorer. It’s located next to the previous one.

This is a fenced area where you can swim with dolphins, fur seals, and sharks.

  • The parking lot is located 0,2 mi from the resort area; a marked path leads from the parking lot to the beach, passing through the territory of coastal hotels. The entrance to the sea is gentle, and vacationers with children will be comfortable. There is fine white coral sand that does not burn even in the hottest weather.
  • All sun loungers and umbrellas belong to local hotels, but they can be used free of charge by everyone. The vast majority of bars and cafes also belong to hotels, but Cabeza de Toro still has a few «independent» restaurants. All of them specialize in seafood dishes. Dinner of Caesar salad, sea bass with ginger, and grilled vegetables will cost 45 USD per person (without alcohol).
  • Address: Punta Cana, Cabeza de Toro beach.

  • Pros: developed infrastructure, good for snorkeling, suitable for families.

  • Cons: not found.

3.Macao beach

Macao Beach, 18,5 miles from Punta Cana, is a mecca for surfers and photographers, as well as a favorite vacation spot for Dominicans.

It is part of a protected natural area because there are no hotels here, and from the buildings, there are only a few huts, where restaurants and surf schools work. Almost the entire length of Macao grows a slender row of wild palm trees resting against rocky ledges – an ideal location for a respite in the shade.

The beach is covered with fine golden sand and is conditionally divided into two parts. The right one is designed for a more relaxing holiday, it will be comfortable for tourists with children: convenient entry into the water, a minimum of waves, and clean and quiet. The left side was chosen by surfers. The cost of a two-hour lesson with an instructor in schools located on the beach is about $55 per person, equipment is included in the amount.

The beach is wild, so there is no entertainment here. There are several small cafes in Macao. The first is located next to the Surf Camp surf school, and the rest are located at the very end of the beach near the cliff. Grilled fresh fish will cost about $7, lobster – $12. The cafes also own sun loungers with umbrellas. To occupy them, you need to order something.

  • Address: Punta Cana , Carr Higuey – El Macao, 23000.
  • How to get there: by taxi from Punta Cana about $18.

  • Pros: Suitable for outdoor activities, Suitable for families.

  • Cons: underdeveloped infrastructure.

4.El Cortecito

«El Cortecito» is considered one of the most picturesque beaches of Punta Cana.

It is located next to the fishing village of the same name, which is now part of the capital of the Dominican Republic. El Cortecito is loved by both locals and tourists, so it is always crowded here, but there are no crowds. Despite regular full houses, the beach is very clean and marked with the Blue Flag. The infrastructure is well developed, but its facilities are not uniformly located: on one section of the beach, cafes are literally washed by the waves, and on the other, you need to take a little walk to buy a glass of beer.

Entertainment and infrastructure:

  • The entrance to the beach is free. Entertainment is mainly represented by snorkeling: there are several dive centers along the coast offering diving for swimmers of any level. A 6-hour course for beginners will cost 130 USD. El Cortecito is covered with white coral sand. It is very clean as it is regularly cleaned by hotel staff. The entrance to the water is gentle, and convenient for both children and adults. All sun loungers and umbrellas belong to nearby hotels but are available free of charge to everyone.
  • Local restaurants serve mainly seafood dishes. Prices are reasonable: dorado fillet costs $11, lobster with a side dish – $18, and a frying pan with paella for two – $27. Fast food is represented primarily by panini for $2-3 and burgers for $5. Many bars on El Cortecito offer the Mamajuana cocktail. This traditional drink consists of rum, red wine, honey, and local herbs – natural aphrodisiacs.
  • Address: Punta Cana, El Cortecito beach.

From Punta Cana airport to «El Cortecito» is almost 15 miles, which can be covered in two ways: fast or cheap. The first is to take a taxi, which will take you to your destination in half an hour. The second is to use the Gaga minibus. On it you can get to the square. San Juan and transfer to a minibus to El Cortecito.

  • Pros: beautiful and picturesque beach, well-developed infrastructure.

  • Cons: located away from the main tourist area.

Now it will be easier for you to navigate which hotel to choose, given its location relative to the aforementioned beaches. Of course, the proximity to the airport and the level of the hotel will significantly affect the cost. It is also worth considering the popularity of the Punta Cana resort – in order to book a good room in a good hotel, you should take care of this in advance, especially during the high season.